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Tokyo: Nikkei slips on global virus woes, caution ahead of US elections

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[TOKYO] Japanese shares fell on Wednesday for the third consecutive session, pulled down by worries that surging coronavirus cases in Europe and the United States could further damage an already-battered global economy.

Also, trading was subdued as the upcoming US presidential elections kept many investors on the sidelines, analysts said.

The benchmark Nikkei share average fell 0.29 per cent to close at 23,418.51, while the broader Topix lost 0.31 per cent to 1,612.55.

All but six of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange traded lower, with miners, iron and steel and insurers leading declines.

The local market tracked the overnight weakness in US stocks on rising coronavirus infections and as US lawmakers struggle to reach an agreement on a stimulus package, said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo.

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US President Donald Trump acknowledged on Tuesday a coronavirus economic relief deal would likely come after the Nov 3 election.

A near 0.4 per cent decline in US stock futures also weighed on Japanese stocks.

However, the market got some support from upbeat earnings reports, with Shimano soaring 17 per cent after the bicycle parts maker upgraded its forecast for annual operating profit.

Japan's index of insurers, who rely on foreign bonds for income, dipped more than 2.8 per cent after US Treasury yields declined overnight on dwindling hopes for a US stimulus deal.

Dai-ichi Life Holdings fell 2.7 per cent and T&D Holdings dropped 2.8 per cent, while Tokio Marine Holdings slipped around 3.5 per cent.

Shares of ANA Holdings closed 0.35 per cent higher, after rising as much as 4 per cent, after the airline operator on Tuesday unveiled its restructuring plans and forecast a record operating loss of 505 billion yen (S$6.56 billion) for the year to March.

Furniture retailer Otsuka Kagu jumped 33.1 per cent to hit its daily limit after the company said its president would be stepping down.

REUTERS

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